Pfizer vaccines arrive in Yucatán; health-care workers to get shots immediately

The first doses of coronavirus vaccine arrived in Yucatan on Tuesday. Photo: Courtesy
The first doses of coronavirus vaccine arrived in Yucatan on Tuesday. Photo: Courtesy

As Yucatan’s first coronavirus vaccines arrived Tuesday, the governor pleaded with residents not to let the state go back to lockdown.

Arriving by military planes and packed in boxes with dry ice, 9,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were dropped off at the airport. The first to benefit from the shipment Wednesday morning will be health-care workers.

The precious cargo first arrived in Mexico City at 9 a.m and was quickly distributed throughout the country.

Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal quickly appeared on social networks emphasizing that this development shouldn’t cause citizens to get lax about prevention. The first dozes are reserved for hospital workers who come in contact with COVID-19.

“It depends on everyone that we do not go to a red light,” he said, referring to the highest state of alert which forces non-essential businesses to close.

The gray military cargo plane landed at 5:11 p.m. at Military Air Base No. 8, in the south of Mérida. Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal and the federal delegate, Joaquín Díaz Mena, witnessed the unloading of the aircraft, accompanied by the Commander of the X Military Region, Major General Víctor Hugo Aguirre Serna and the state vaccination coordinator, Lieutenant Commander Carlos Gómez Montes de Oca. Personnel from the Navy as well as Yucatan Health Secretary Mauricio Sauri Vivas and the deputy director, Carlos Isaac Hernández Fuentes, were also on hand.

Two more shipments will arrive in the next few weeks for a total of 27,300 doses.

First in line are the General Hospitals of Tekax, Valladolid, San Carlos de Tizimín, as well as the General Dr. Agustín O’Horán in Mérida, as well as field hospitals at the Valladolid General Hospital and the Siglo XXI convention center, the Mérida Regional ISSSTE Hospital and the Regional High Specialty of the Peninsula of Yucatán (HRAEPY), which is also in Mérida.

Each facility has organized brigades to receive and distribute the much-awaited shipments.

An intensive care nurse in Mexico City was the first person in Latin America to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine.

Mexico began administering the first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in a broadcast ceremony in which Maria Irene Ramirez, 59, got the first shot on Thursday, hours after the shipment arrived.

“This is the best present I could have received in 2021,” said Ramirez.

“Today the stage of the epidemic and its treatment changes, to a ray of hope,” said federal Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell.

Mexico reported over 1.35 test-confirmed cases and 120,311 deaths, although estimates based on excess deaths suggest the country’s real number of fatalities is closer to 180,000.

With information from The Associated Press

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